The Bowler Hat

London, United Kingdom

THE BOWLER HAT IS BACK AGAIN as a symbol of Britain’s past. This cultural identifier is back on track being transformed from fashion icon to (London’s newest piece of) contemporary architecture. Its well proportioned curved aerodynamic shape gives strength to its structure and makes it a perfect form for a floating gallery. The “LONDON HAT” will be prominently positioned and easily accessible with its own docking station on the Thames at city hall. The docking station consists of a single volume which embraces the gallery and an entrance and exit ramp.

One enters “The Hat” via the temporary exhibition space. A dramatic effect is achieved with a void made in the upper floor to achieve the maximum sensation of height. From this area one continues to a small inner circle hallway which connects to the remaining ground floor program. 

This hallway also contains the stairway and lift platform leading to the top of the “Hat” where a large auditorium area with 6 meter high ceilings are to be found. This multifunctional area can be used to host anything from a glowing late night party to movie theatre or observation platform for events on the Thames or on shore. The Temporary exhibition space and cafeteria on the ground floor, are strategically placed in relationship to the “Brim” which contains the observation deck overlooking the water and the shore. On the large walls of the exhibition space and cafeteria, information of important events will appear. 

On the large walls of the exhibition space and cafeteria, information of important events will appear. The façade is made of a steel space frame comparable to the pattern of expanded metal. Around this structure a skin of stretch fabric is attached. Seamless and without design restraints, containing only holes and it’s smooth rounded surface, the LONDON HAT will be a strong contradiction between a century old historical symbol and modern architecture.